SPECIAL FOR THE AJT //

Lucy Gross wowing audiences as Paulette in "Legally Blonde" at the MJCCA. PHOTO / MJCCA

Lucy Gross wowing audiences as Paulette in “Legally Blonde” at the MJCCA. PHOTO / MJCCA

Lucy Gross, a Woodward Academy graduate, is playing  the character Paulette in Company J at the MJCCA’s Teen Summer Stock production of “Legally Blonde,” running through Aug. 11. Gross was born and raised in Atlanta and grew up in the northeast suburbs. She went to Woodward Academy from the fourth grade through high school, where she graduated in 2012.

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“During high school, I kept busy in the theatre department and did summer stock theatre every year,” says Gross, “Those summer stock shows were under the direction of Jeffrey Bailey and music direction by Bill Newberry. But when Jeffrey had to move away, I had to look for other summer stock options.”

“That is when a friend who had been in Jeffrey’s shows with me told me about ‘Spring Awakening,’” Gross continues, “Company J’s summer stock show last year. I auditioned and was cast as Martha. I loved working with Brian Kimmel, Eileen Edwards and Annie Cook, as well as the cast and crew so much that I decided to come back and audition for ‘Legally Blonde.’”

Gross is now entering her sophomore year at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Al. studying Musical Theatre. Gross says, “The college is small; composed of only a few thousand students, but the theatre department thrives and produces amazing shows with some of the most talented actors and production crews I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”

Gross was raised a Reform Jew. She was Bat Mitzvahed at 13 at Temple Dor Tamid. Her paternal grandmother, Sylvia “Double” Gross, is known around Atlanta for her contributions to various Jewish and LGBT organizations.

“You can’t go into an Atlanta deli without finding someone who knows Sylvia,” says Gross.

Sylvia’s late husband, Ben Gross, was a Holocaust survivor and made his career in real estate all over Atlanta. He and Lucy’s Uncle Alex Gross have had their survivor stories featured in numerous books and documentaries. Lucy’s Uncle Alex even wrote his own memoir of his experience titled “Yankele.”

Gross’s family has been tied to the MJCCA forever. Gross explains, “My two older brothers and I all went to Zaban for pre-school, and my mother and grandmother donated to the theatre; they have a plaque in their honor outside the box office.” Lucy says, “That is one of the reasons that being a part of this theater is so special to me, in a personal way.”

All productions will take place at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s (MJCCA) Morris and Rae Frank Theatre. For more information or to purchase tickets call the Company J Box Office at (678) 812- 4002.

THE 411: “Legally Blonde”, Sun. Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Ticket Prices: $10-$20, with discounts for students, seniors, groups, and MJCCA members.

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